Today i discovered little R. It's like big R, only little. Holy shit.
Dirk gives a thorough rundown here http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com/code/littler.html Suffice to say, for someone who's been using pipes and #!/usr/bin constructs for years (though not quite yet decades), this is cooler than cool. One might say, super-cool.
It's also a nice intro to R for some of the systems geeks out there. Need a million random numbers uniformly distributed between 0 and 1, specified to 7 decimal points? Need it in a file? Need it fast? r can help:
time r -q -e 'for (i in rnorm(1e6)) cat(sprintf("%1.7f\n", i))' >> randomnumsOr perhaps you have a million numbers in some file that you would like to plot as a histogram, fast, every day, in an automated fashion, from the command line...
cat randomnums | r -e 'myrandoms <- as.numeric(readLines()); png(filename="myplot.png"); plot(histogram(myrandoms)); dev.off()' >/dev/nullNo, it won't mungle strings with the ease of python, but it can chew a spreadsheet and spit it out *fast*. And since it's a stream, you can always pipe it to/from python. If you ask me, pretty fucking cool.